What was behind Brooks Koepka’s choice to go away the PGA Tour for LIV Golf?

In 2019, the week Brooks Koepka would lead wire-to-wire on the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black and seize a fourth main title in 23 months, he broke down why he believed he’d change into essentially the most dominant participant on golf’s greatest levels.

“(There are) 156 within the subject,” he mentioned, “so you work at the very least 80 of them I am simply going to beat. From there you work about half of them will not play properly. So that you’re all the way down to about possibly 35. After which from 35, a few of them simply … strain goes to get to them. It solely leaves you with a number of extra, and you have simply acquired to beat these guys. “

Koepka, the Palm Seaside County native and Jupiter resident, lately has change into a type of guys others consider, “I am simply going to beat.” A non-factor on this yr’s majors and barely in rivalry within the final yr, Koepka, whether or not due to accidents, the distraction of planning a marriage or possibly simply being previous his peak, is leaving the PGA Tour to affix Greg Norman’s LIV Golf Sequence.

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Brooks Koepka’s announcement to go away PGA Tour for LIV Golf

The announcement got here Wednesday, after Koepka withdrew from the Vacationers Championship late Tuesday.

Koepka, at 32, is a giant get for the Saudi-backed collection trying to find credibility and a focus, one whose occasions are proven on YouTube as a result of it does not have a tv deal. LIV’s first occasion two weeks in the past in London featured simply two golfers who transfer the needle, Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson. Add Bryson DeChambeau and Koepka for subsequent week’s occasion at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Membership exterior of Portland, Oregon, and now it has 4.

However none of that issues to the 20 or so gamers who’ve defected from the PGA Tour and others who’re struggling to search out their footing on the earth {of professional} golf.

Why different golf gamers are becoming a member of Liv Golf

All that issues are the checks hitting their accounts. Everybody from Palm Seaside Gardens’ Charl Schwartzel, who gained $ 4.75 million for successful the person title and being a part of the successful group in London; to Andy Ogletree, who took residence $ 120,000 in prize cash for taking pictures 24-over and ending final within the 48-man-field, is in LIV for one cause.

In twenty years as a professional, Schwartzel by no means gained $ 3 million in a yr, together with 2011 when he gained the Masters. Ogeltree’s profession earnings in 4 years of taking part in tour occasions is $ 38,186.

Koepka’s choice actually has to do with including to that $ 38 million he is earned in prize cash, plus tens of millions extra off the course, in his profession. It additionally offers us a peek into the thoughts of a golfer who at one time was thought of amongst golf’s royalty, held the No. 1 rating on the earth for 47 weeks and was as feared as anybody not named Tiger Woods in current historical past on the subject of the majors.

Brooks Koepka, taking part in his shot from the tenth tee throughout the second spherical of the PGA Championship final month in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is more likely to get round $ 100 million to affix the LIV collection.

Now, Koepka has achieved one thing fully reverse to what he had change into identified for on golf’s greatest levels – a steely, laser-like centered, ultra-competitive champion.

He has run from the competitors.

Accidents actually have performed a think about his struggles, however he is been coping with these – whether or not it is his wrist, knee, hip – for a number of years now. Maybe Koepka simply cannot deal with his physique not permitting him to be a constant risk on the PGA Tour.

Or maybe he is seen a gaggle of proficient gamers of their 20s – all about 5 years youthful than Koepka – making their mark within the sport. Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland, Sam Burns, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Will Zalatoris all have zoomed previous Koepka on the earth rankings.

What occurred to the Brooks Koepka who mentioned simply 4 months in the past it was “embarrassing” to be ranked no. 20 on the earth? Presently he’s No. 19.

The outdated Brooks Koepka would have taken on that problem, pulled out the disrespect card he used so properly throughout his run of 4 main championships in eight begins, and re-established his standing among the many greatest on the earth.

Brooks Koepka stands to make tens of millions with LIV golf occasions

Brooks Koepka, talking before the PGA Championship in May, made it official Wednesday that he's joining the LIV Tour.

Brooks Koepka, speaking earlier than the PGA Championship in Might, made it official Wednesday that he is becoming a member of the LIV Tour.

Now, Koepka is taking the straightforward cash he— he’s doubtless receiving within the neighborhood of $ 100 million to affix the collection ⁠— to play eight LIV occasions (the collection is hoping to develop subsequent yr) and no matter different tournaments will welcome LIV golfers.

All this, in fact, is his proper, however he’s the one who has to simply accept the backlash for becoming a member of a league backed by Saudi cash. And realizing Koepka as many people do, he actually doesn’t care concerning the blowback.

However Koepka will not be taking part in in opposition to one of the best on the earth, with the potential exception of some majors annually, and even which may be taken away. That, too, he has to simply accept.

This a lot is for certain, Koepka wouldn’t have taken this path two or three years in the past when there was a mystique to his recreation.

And nobody exterior of Mickelson has dealt with this choice worse than Koepka. He’ll endlessly be remembered for calling out Mickelson for his “greed” remark, saying LIV would get their guys as a result of “any individual will promote out and go to it,” and insisting cash does not matter and “I simply need to play in opposition to one of the best. “

On Wednesday, Rory McIlroy, who has been as vocal as anybody in his loyalty to the PGA Tour, mentioned he was shocked with Koepka’s choice, calling it “duplicitous” due to “what he mentioned earlier than.”

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However now he’s unable to play PGA Tour occasions, together with his hometown Honda Basic, which, to Koepka’s credit score, was on his schedule yearly. One of the best golfer ever born and bred in Palm Seaside County is leaving one of the best, best league in his sport. Positive, his 4 majors have been historic, one thing he will likely be and— and ought to be ⁠— pleased with the remainder of his life.

These trophies nonetheless shine sitting on Koepka’s bookshelves. It is his repute that has been tarnished.

Tom D’Angelo is a journalist on the Palm Seaside Put up. You possibly can attain him at tdangelo@pbpost.com.

This text initially appeared on Palm Seaside Put up: Brooks Koepka working from PGA Tour for LIV Golf Sequence cash

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